Nov. 23, 2002 – Armed with paint brushes and rollers, some of the approximately 100 volunteers who showed up at Roy L. Schneider Hospital on Saturday morning for the fifth annual United Way Day of Caring took on the task of sprucing up the lobby, while others worked outdoors.
"We always look for a project that is central to the community," Cornell Williams, United Way vice president, said while on the job Saturday. "The hospital, as you can see, is in a mode of refurbishing. We offered to paint the lobby, and we'll be doing some landscaping in the back parking lot."
Members of such organizations as Iota Phi Lambda, the Red Cross, SPARKS (Students Promoting Awareness, Responsibility, Knowledge and Service) and the University of the Virgin Islands Golden Key International Honor Society participated in the event. From 8 a.m. to noon, they painted and landscaped and worked on placing benches around the back entrance of the hospital.
United Way of St. Thomas/St. John, a not-for-profit organization, raises funds for its 18 member agencies, which include the local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Catholic Charities, Red Cross and Legal Services organizations. To qualify for support, agencies must provide human services.
"We raise funds during our annual campaign to support these agencies," Thyra Hammond, executive director, said. But, she added, "United Way is charged also with promoting volunteerism."
Hammond said more than 200 individuals volunteer with the local agency. "The whole idea is to inspire people to give back to their community," she said. "That's the reason we initiated the Day of Caring — to promote volunteerism."
She noted that Saturday's workers would get instant satisfaction from seeing the fruits of their labors.
Last year, the Day of Caring volunteers worked at the Alvin McBean Complex. In previous years, they have gone to the Queen Louise Home for the Aged and Addelita Cancryn Junior High School.
Natacha Jermain, a Golden Key volunteer, said, "That's part of what we do as an honor society. I'll be assisting wherever I'm needed."
Julie Lafferty, a registered nurse at the hospital, described what the United Way was doing on Saturday as "remarkable." "There's so much need in the community, and people who are taking their time to volunteer are a blessing," she said. "They are the ones making a difference."
Karl Jackson, funeral director at John Thomas Memorial Chapel, said he thinks the Day of Caring project is great. "I wanted to come down to the hospital and help and be a part of the community," he said. "The United Way is bringing a lot of people together who don't normally come together."
Darryl Smalls, the hospital's director of engineering, said the Day of Caring is a big help. "We're undergoing extensive renovations throughout the facility," he said. "United Way's services are most appreciated."
Corporate donations in support of the day's activities came from Chi-Co's Distributing, MSI Building Supplies, Paint Depot, PriceSmart, Renaissance Resorts, the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Resort, Sea Chest, Sherwin-Williams Paint Co. and The West Indian Co. Frank's Bake Shop and the Fruit Bowl provided breakfast for the volunteers.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.